America West Airlines
Depart Boston-Logan: 09:45
Arrive Phoenix-Sky Harbor: 12:19
Aircraft: Airbus A230-232 N669AW
Photo © James Richard Covington, Jr
Photo © Dean Allchin
My day started early having to get up and go to work for "The World's Favourite Airline". As soon as our flight was off the ground I changed, grabbed my suitcase and made my way from Terminal E to B. I got to the check-in at approximately 08:35 (an hour and ten minutes before departure). There were only a few people in front of me so I got up to the counter pretty quickly. Normally when travelling on non-rev tickets, I can be pretty anal about making sure the flights I choose are not looking too full, but this time I really didn't do all that so I was kinda nervous as to how full the flight would be. I got checked in and and the woman gave my my boarding pass right there at check-in. That was a great relief. However, the seat was in the middle. I guess I haven't yet dared to ask for anything as I have the mentality that I should be grateful for anything at all. So, I looked at my pass, sighed, and got on with it. Passing security in a breeze (working at an airport you learn quickly how to pass through security as quickly as possible) I took a seat and waited for boarding. Boarding began and like AA and other airlines America West boards in groups. I was in the last group to be called, and got on the plane. I took my seat and sat back. We pushed back on-time next to AA who were gearing up for their morning push.
We taxied out down to the end of runway 22R. We pulled onto the runway and after stopping only momentarily we were airborne at 10:03. We turned to the north and flew out over New York, Ohio, the Midwest, then over Colorado, and into Arizona. The drink service was started a little while after take-off. While it was very barebones, just a couple of packages of pretzels, I must commend HP on at least giving us the whole can of what we ordered. After that I watched a bit of the movie which was "Bringing Down The House". Then I fell asleep until we had reached top of descent. The cabin crew did their pre-landing checks early as the captain predicted a lot of turbulence on approach. As soon as we hit the puffy cumulus clouds over the desert the bumping began and we had quite a ride into Sky Harbor. Oddly enough with all the bumping, we made a very smooth touchdown onto runway 26. We landed at about 11:55, or 25 minutes ahead of schedule. As a result there was no gate ready for us. We had to take position behind a company A320 also waiting for a gate. After about 15 minutes the engines powered up and we went to our gate. We came to our gate, A19, and the first thing that made me realize that I was actually in Phoenix was the announcement requesting that all window shades be closed due to the extreme temperatures and sun there.
18th July 2003
America West Express/Mesa Airlines
Depart Phoenix-Sky Harbor: 13:35
Arrive Santa Barbara Municipal: 14:57
Aircraft: Bombardier CRJ-200 registration unknown
Photo © Jason Whitebird
Photo © Michael Arcellana
I got off the plane and looked at the monitors for my connecting flight to Santa Barbara, California. My flight was departing out of gate B13. I simply followed the signs and made my way over there, stopping along the way for a little food. I nearly fainted when I saw the prices for some of the things at Burger King-over $8,- for a large chicken sandwich meal! I got down to the gate and listened to the announcements for an oversold flight to Fresno. I started hoping that my flight to SB woudn't be as full. Looking at the time, the flight was supposed to begin boarding in 5 minutes yet there were still no agents at the gate. Then right then an agent gets on the mic and announces that the flight is experiencing a mechanical error and that as soon as they have more information they will let us know. About 10 minutes later the same agent gets on the mic and announces a gate change to B1. Of course...make us go from the last gate on the concourse to the first! We get down there and we wait more. At least the agent is funny in a quirky sort of way. Finally they call the flight at around 13:30. Everyone gets on-board and a few of us are still waiting for news about the flight. Finally a guy walks up and asks about stand-bys. The agents admits that she completely forgot to check if there were stand-bys on the flight before she closed it. A few keystrokes we all had seats. That was a bit too close. I get on the plane and the FA says take any seat. I beeline for the two in the rear as I want a window seat. What she said from the beginning was to choose one of the aisle seats as two of the stand-bys were a father and daughter. Nonetheless, I take my original assigned seat of 12D and sit down. We taxi back at about 14:10. We taxi out, and while I can't be certain of how and where we taxied as the guy sitting at the window didn't feel compelled to open the shade, I'm pretty sure the runway that we got a running start onto for take-off was runway 25R. Climb-out was extrememly bumpy and a few dips and I was beginning to think that this had better end soon or there would be a lot of fresh barf bags going onto this plane. It did smooth out and soon we were sailing above the clouds enroute to Santa Barbara, California. We started our descent and finally the guy decided to open his shade. We got real low over the mountains and eventually flew out over the water. We turned in just west of the downtown and made a nice landing on runway 25 at about 15:27. Santa Barbara is a really cute airport, and definitely has one of the most interesting terminals I've ever seen.
23rd July 2003
America West Airlines
Depart Las Vegas-McCarran: 23:59
Arrive Boston-Logan: 08:01
Aircraft: Airbus A230 registration unknown
Photo © Aaron David Mandolesi
Photo © John Martin
After a few lovely days in Santa Barbara, I decided to spend an extra day with my friend and his family and take a drive to Las Vegas where they would be spending a few days. I had never driven through a desert or been to Las Vegas so I did that instead of flying on a CRJ-700 (it was a tough decision). After driving to Las Vegas with nightmare traffic on the 15 I had about 6 hours to explore the city before having to go to the airport. I arrived at McCarran at about 22:20 on the hottest night I've ever experienced. After five minutes of searching for the America West counters I found them and got into the Boston (plus other cities I didn't care about) queue. I got up to the agent at check-in and presented my tickets and airport id. Having no listing on the flight or anything I was very nervous. I asked her how it looked and she said that it was booked at 145, with 133 checked in, and 12 standbys who would most certainly be in-front of me. With about 90 minutes before departure, it didn't look good. I was extremely nervous as I had to get on this flight otherwise I'd be late for work the next day (like I said, I threw all caution to the wind on this trip). I passed through security with ease, despite the SSSS on my standby pass, no one seemed to care. I got down to my gate and waited. Boarding began on-time and soon everyone was on-board except for a group of us. Slowly everyone started getting their seats. One guy (with a mullet) started making a huge deal with the agents because someone at staff ticketing didn't ticket him at the right priority. All I could do at this point was think that if he didn't want those seats, I'd be happy to take them. Finally, I hear my name called. I can't believe it! I get my boarding pass and then call my friend who was waiting for me to call in case I didn't make it. Once again, it's a middle seat, but this time I really don't care, I just want to sleep. I fall asleep right after take-off and wake up just for a little bit for the drink service. After that I fall asleep and wake up just in time for the "we'll be on the ground in 20 minutes" announcement. We land at approximately 08:10 on a wet, humid Boston morning. The flight attendant injected some light humour into her arrival speech which I thought was a nice touch. I got off the plane, and was surprised to learn that the HP baggage claim was at the opposite end of Terminal B from where they arrive. Not very convenient, but if that's what HP wants. So ends my second trip to California this summer. Stay tuned for my next great adventure in non-rev travel: Las Vegas! Coming in about 3 weeks.